Friday, January 4, 2013

The Corbett lawsuit

Tom Corbett is rushing to the defense of Penn State football.
He’s filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, saying the college sports ruling body basically violated its own procedures and basically was looking to pump up its own reputation at the expense of the Nittany Lions when they came down hard on them with those sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky saga.

There are two distinct camps here. A lot of journalists such as Buzz Bissinger, local author and late of WPHT talk radio, and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan are harpooning Corbett, both for the timing of the suit, with a re-election looming and Corbett’s poll numbers in the toilet, and for its contents.
On the other hand, there is our own columnist Gil Spencer, who is squarely in the governor’s corner.
Me? I’m probably somewhere in the middle. Except for this: I don’t give a damn about Penn State football. I do, however, care about kids, and am still trying to figure out how a monster like Jerry Sandusky was allowed to get away with his perverse lifestyle for as long as he did.
If Corbett’s lawsuit answers those questions, then I’m all for it. If it can’t, if it is merely a move to protect Penn State football, or even worse prop up Corbett’s ratings, then it is truly an outrage.
The governor already is on damage control. He spent much of yesterday explaining why he changed his stance on the sanctions. You might remember when the NCAA first put the hammer down on Penn State, Corbett, who happens to sit on the Penn State Board of Trustees, was on board. He urged the school to accept the “serious penalties” without argument. Now, after what he says is a more thorough investigation of the circumstances, he’s ready to go to war with the NCAA, and at taxpayer expense by the way.
“I did not have all the facts in front of me,” Corbett said in defending the suit and his apparent switcheroo.
You might also remember that it was Corbett, then the state attorney general, who initiated the investigation into Sandusky. His critics say he bungled it, taking much too long to bring charges after taking the case before a grand jury. They also claim he did not direct nearly enough investigators to the case, while pushing an investigation into political corruption in the state. Corbett dismisses those critics. He may not as easily be able to push aside the questions from incoming Attorney General Democrat Kathleen Kane, who has said she will review how Corbett’s office handled the investigation. Interestingly enough, Corbett never bothered to alert the attorney general-elect as to the lawsuit.
One thing is certain. Jerry Sandusky may be in jail, but his shadow will continue to loom large over Penn State, and in fact all of Pennsylvania, for months if not years to come.

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